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Three Poems by Chris Campanioni


Three Poems by Chris Campanioni


I once had a dream so I packed up & split

for the C felt good as I
stood above so many others
sitting, minding their own
business or attending to

their screens & the ground
rocked occasionally & occasionally
I rocked with the way
the car curved or rumbled

to a stop, inching forward
& my head too, hanging
as is my custom or craned
to look out from inside

where I often leave myself
or where I often go
so I might
be alone again

as is my custom
to repeat the lines
that waited without
patience as a gate

jammed or a door
slid to let
our breath through
looking at my face

with the sea as its back
drop couldn’t make
out anything I saw instead
a surrogate as though

my eyes had all
along been closed

Private Moments In Moving Cars

Some things you tell me later. Sweat is a good sign, sweat is a very good sign if you’re reading this or you’re at a reading & up on stage, up or down by which I mean sitting without a mic alone another savage night at the club you know the skin of strangers unbroken rain a knife on the cutting board train whistle & here comes Scandinavian Crush the way bodies fit together all the time listening & leaning closer to the sound of it & into the night we’ll disappear as this seat accelerates something so easy to forget I’m bound passenger side vacant except for more old tapes voices recorded elsewhere or else ad infinitum & into the night we’ll disappear repeated like a kiss so I can barely make another mile drive fast always say yes you deserve this Cut Copy or Kindness counting to three after sliding the chamber the way a movie suggested, what else were you to expect once we got here?

Take it all back

Laundry, groceries, my warm gazpacho, anything
Worth waiting with others, routine

Pleasures sometimes we forget
Wearing layers is an occasion

For a poem What more
But to savor the taste

Of it? Coke & seraphim
Pursed slowly Cuba

Libre in the dead
Of summer I just want

To never stop moving The center
Of my life middling

Breeze from a bottomed-out vent
Everything I had & had

Left behind
All the money spent to get

To nothing, erotic longing or just relative
Silence, the beach, the color

Of Atlantic & blurring
Of the coast when I look

For too long a growing
Wind the half-formed foot

Hills of concrete behind me all season
So many bodies will slouch

Toward the surf, tepid
To start even shy & slowly

Lower themselves feet first breath
& lips held in place

Being alive all the time is a performance
Being alone is like watching another

Brief monument to what is scarred
& what I after sense is sacred

Something you can tell
Me later when I think

No one here is listening

This Party’s Crowded
(I want meat)

I started calling
My inbox a party because
It sounded more fun
That way to
Wade thru bodies
Like messages I had to manage
The boredom some
How had to have
Some mercy on our
Data all the days
I spend searching
For something just out
Of our reach

I want to meet a man for meetings
To mete a man in meter to tingle in
Meetings I want to teem myself a man
I want meat

Team player to have met dead
Lines my name is
Man, I want you
To meet you for meetings always

Plural implying consecutive
Moments, prearranged
Encounters Something repeated
For a desired effect, i.e. iteration

I have secrets for you
If you wish I just need
Somebody to love
What I want is metempsychosis

Really what I want
Is not to marry you but more
I want to merge with you okay is that
Not clear from all the photos

In which I’ve knelt down for you wide
Lipped to see me from my most becoming
Someone else, unsure who
I was when I sent you

This request & can I
Eat you?

Now you’re asking
Me for money & we
Haven’t even met

Now you’re mouthing
Justin Bieber, the promise
Of true love, 100k more

Followers if I click
Your face & down
Load a virus into the viscera

Of my machine oh
Tragic to make your connection
This way or that

I can’t speak with you
Or call your name, whatever
A body hailed you at birth

You are only my
Plush Arabic Princess 7767793454
Which I think might be your cell

Or which I think might be your bar
Code I’d like to try
To know you I’d like to know

You are real or real
Enough, see also: fantasy
& my memory’s been



About the author

Chris Campanioni’s new book is Death of Art (C&R Press). His recent work appears in Ambit, Hotel, Gorse, Paris Lit Up, Whitehot, and RHINO, and his poem, “This body’s long & I’m still loading” was adapted as an official selection of the Canadian International Film Festival. He is a Provost Fellow and MAGNET Mentor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where he is conducting his doctoral studies in English. He edits PANK, At Large, and Tupelo Quarterly and teaches literature and creative writing at Pace University and Baruch College.

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